Sam Harris on Science and Morality

A lot of food for thought.

He seems to be encouraging a move towards a global, or even universal, objective morality, one that all human beings should be able to agree upon, regardless of culture, religion or beliefs. But of course, this would mean the elimination of culture, religion and belief, in favor of a fact-based morality. Or at least extreme subservience of culture, religion and beliefs in favor of universal human morality.

Actually, why do cultures, religions and belief systems presume an automatic respect as arbiters of human morality? Why is the Pope, the Ayatollah, or the Dalai Lama considered experts on morality? The Pope discourages the use of AIDs prevention in African countries and oversees a small army of pedophiles,  the Ayatollah encourages suicide bombers and the debasement of women, and the Dalai Lama…well, what does the Dalai Lama do?

Why shouldn’t scientists be up there on the human values pedestal?

Anyway, provocative stuff.

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6 thoughts on “Sam Harris on Science and Morality

  1. There’s only one “L” in “Lama” for Dalai Lama. The South American animal known as the llama, on the other hand, does have a double “L”.

      • To quote the late great Ogden Nash:

        The one-L lama,
        He’s a priest.
        The two-L llama,
        He’s a beast.
        And I would bet
        A silk pajama
        There isn’t any
        Three-L lllama.

        (Nash appended a footnote: “The author’s attention has been called to a type of conflagration known as a three-alarmer. Pooh)

  2. I have mixed opinions about his view. I do like the idea of multiple peaks and his use of food as an analogy, but then there was the issue of the burkas and the killing of the gay son before he had a chance to sin and thus be sent to hell. A society could be set up in such a way that some ridiculous behaviors could appear to be what’s best on both an individual and society level. A society may flourish by eliminating “flawed” members, and if those eliminations happen at an age where those people are conscious of what’s happening, they may express a happiness to participate like the women in the burkas (I just had a flashback to Logan’s Run).

    So I find the idea of multiple peaks contrasts with the idea of objective morality, and that if we are to pass judgment on a flourishing society which kills their flawed members or does other things we don’t care for, then I don’t see how you can call that objection objectively based. That sounds very subjective to me.

    Btw, I don’t care for the theme. I think it would look nice for the floor, but not for a blog.

    • Btw, I don’t care for the theme. I think it would look nice for the floor, but not for a blog.

      I lightened it up a bit. It did seem kind of dark. But then I’m partial to wood paneled rooms. Lawyers offices, judges chambers, courtrooms, and all that…

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